A knighthood for Richie McCaw is still on offer, the prime minister says.
The All Blacks captain was nominated for a knighthood in 2011 after the team's Rugby World Cup triumph.
However, McCaw reportedly said at the time he did not feel it was right to accept the honour while he was still playing rugby.
Prime Minister John Key told TV3's Paul Henry show this morning there was no question in his mind that McCaw was absolutely deserving of a knighthood.
"The question would only be whether he'd take one - I don't know."
Asked if a knighthood would still be on offer if McCaw was now prepared to accept it, Mr Key said it was on offer before "so he couldn't imagine that anything had changed".
On Saturday, McCaw became the most capped international player of all time as he stepped out at Eden Park for the Bledisloe Cup match against the Wallabies.
When McCaw was substituted in the second half, with victory well in hand, the capacity 48,450 crowd rose to acknowledge the openside flanker's world record 142nd Test appearance and his last on home soil.
McCaw said there was "a big lump in my throat" as he left Eden Park.
"It's hard to explain, but I didn't want that to stop, that feeling, that moment," he said after the match. "It's a memory you always have ... even talking about it now you feel a bit of a shiver down the spine."
New Zealand Rugby chief executive Steve Tew believed most people would approve of honouring the All Blacks captain.
"I can't imagine there would be too many people in the country who don't believe Richie deserves whatever accolades he gets - but we'll leave that to those that make those decisions."
Former All Blacks coach Graham Henry said McCaw was an outstanding young New Zealander, who deserved to be knighted.
"He's an outstanding leader and done brilliantly. Can't do any better than he's done," said Henry.
He said he was not surprised John Key had joked about McCaw getting into politics, because the All Blacks captain was such a role model, but believed McCaw was only focusing only on the Rugby World Cup for now.
A spokesperson for the Prime Minister later said McCaw would not be focusing on any such recognition at present.
"While it is not the Prime Minister's usual practice to comment on the honours system, it is well-known that Richie McCaw was offered an honour in 2011 but turned it down, believing it was not the right time," the spokesperson said.
"The Prime Minister has said that McCaw has previously been judged worthy of such recognition, and in his view nothing has changed. In saying that, the Prime Minister is sure that its not something that Richie will be focused on as he and his team turn their attention to the World Cup next month."